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Anthony Duclair part of powerful new ad condeming racism in hockey

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Florida Panthers forward Anthony Duclair is part of a new ad from Budweiser Canada which decries racism in hockey. // Screen capture courtesy Budweiser Canada

On Saturday morning, the Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA) and Budweiser Canada released a powerful commercial condemning systematic racism in the sport of hockey featuring numerous NHL players and alumni, including Florida Panthers forward Anthony Duclair.

The HDA and Budweiser partnered to start the #TapeOutHate campaign, which hopes to help further shed light on racial discrimination in hockey by selling hockey tape with “hockey has no place for racism” written on it.

“Racism, ignorance, hate, it has no place in our game,” Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba said in the ad which debuts tonight.

Unfortunately, it’s a point that still hasn’t been made all too clear quite yet.

Members of the HDA were featured in the ad reading text messages of racial slurs they have received throughout their years playing hockey.

“I think that’s something the fans don’t see, the text messages, the DMs,” Dumba said.

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The ad also shows news headlines showing some of the members of the HDA’s experiences with racism during their time in the NHL.

This includes incidents such as a banana peel being thrown at Wayne Simmonds and Bill Peters admitting to using racial slurs against Akim Aliu.

There is both an uncensored and censored version of the spot.

The uncensored version leaves a sobering reality to the viewer that shows what each player has to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

“Why would you ever want your kid to experience that,” Dumba said. “Would you put them in hockey?”

Unfortunately, it is a question many parents have to ask themselves with the way hockey culture is.

At the junior level, I witnessed firsthand the toxicity and racism that exists in the sport.

While I did not have to deal with the racism personally, one of my favorite linemates from when I played did.

At the junior level, I heard opposing players call my teammate almost every racial slur in the book and it was a harrowing feeling.

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To make a long story short, most of my penalty minutes and a few of my concussions came from defending my teammate after opposing players went after him, but it should not be this way.

Hockey fights should not be what polices racist behavior; it is the voices in and around the game that need to stand up and condemn it.

“We need our allies,” members of the HDA said during the spot. “We need the fans and everyone on board to get this moving.”

That is what it is going to take to make hockey a safer place for everyone.

“When you get more diversity in the game, it is only going to make the game better,” Duclair said.

That could not be more true, and Panthers fans experience that firsthand with Duclair in the lineup.

The 26-year-old not only ranks second on the team in goals but also brings an infectious love for the game and a positive attitude to the Florida locker room.

“He’s unreal. He’s a really great hockey player, a great guy, and he’s always dangerous,” Panthers captain Sasha Barkov said.

“He’s always there to score a goal, to get a breakaway, to make nice plays, so I’m really, really happy for him and really happy to have him on our side and watch him play.”

For those who want to participate in the campaign, the tape is available to be purchased online at shopbeargear.ca starting on Saturday.

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